We were winding down the year— Evening's gold bandage at the edge of the sky, followed by snowfall. I can't remember how many gifts of narcissus I unboxed and tended; their papery musk and ensuing silence. I have not quite learned how to see such things simply for what they are and not as metaphor or omen. It is this habit of seeking text beneath circumstance, a footnote for every lapse in conversation. The heart is afraid of how much it can't hear; the mind, of what it can't bear to change.